'Korean Eye' takes 34 artists to London
By Kwon Mee-yoo
“Korean Eye,” an exhibition to introduce contemporary Korean artists to the world, revealed the 34 who will present their work at the 2012 show at the Saatchi Gallery in London from July 25 to Sept. 23.
“Korean Eye” was founded by Parallel Media Group chairman David Ciclitira to promote Korean art in cooperation with the Saatchi Gallery.
The project has hosted a series of shows introducing rising Korean artists since 2009.
The first exhibition themed “Moon Generation” was held in Seoul and London in 2009 and the 2010 “Fantastic Ordinary” was held in London, Singapore and Seoul. “Energy and Matter” previewed in Seoul last September and moved to New York and Abu Dhabi. The project also published a book on Korean contemporary art with Skira.
The third exhibition in London coincides with the London Summer Olympics, which runs from July 27 to Aug. 12.
The Saatchi Gallery is known for discovering promising artists. The gallery owner and collector Charles Saatchi has bought works and supported the Young British Artists, including Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin and has a strong influence over the contemporary art scene.
The curatorial team of the gallery reviewed more than 2,000 Korean artists’ portfolios and selected 100 works by 34 of them for this year’s big exhibition in London.
The list of participants includes traditional painters to young artists experimenting with new media.
Kang Hyung-koo is known for his photorealistic portraits of celebrities and Choe U-ram makes kinetic sculptures. Shin Mee-kyung produces porcelain jars and sculptures from soap, while Debbie Han presents sculptures that counter common stereotypes.
Lee Kwang-ho makes furniture using material like hoses and electrical wire and Je Baak combines film, video installation, photography and other media to offer an altered perspective on familiar situations.
Other artists on the list include Lee Jae-hyo, Moon Beom, Bae Joon-sing, Bahk Seon-ghi, Jang Seung-hyo. Many of them are relatively unknown on the Korean art scene.
Saatchi Gallery CEO Nigel Hurst said he is delighted to collaborate with “Korean Eye” and Standard Chartered. It is the first time for the gallery to give itself over to artworks outside its own collection.
“Korean Eye is set to play a key role in shaping our understanding of the work of this group of artists and provide a gateway to the wider culture of their homeland, because they have absorbed many aspects of contemporary life in Korea and chosen very individual ways to communicate this, showing extraordinary talent and energy,” Hurst said.
The project has been sponsored by Standard Chartered Korea since it began in 2009 to raise awareness of Korean art and Korea’s national brand.
Richard Hill, president and CEO of Standard Chartered Korea Financial Group and Standard Chartered Bank Korea, said he is proud that the bank’s support is culminating in the showcasing of Korean contemporary art in London.
“I think the London exhibition demonstrates how we strive to act not only as a bridge in an economic sense, but also as a vehicle to increase awareness and understanding of Korean culture globally,” Hill said in a statement.
For more information about the exhibition, visit www.koreaneye.org.